Skepticism growing towards Ivy League basketball playing 2020-21 season

The 2020-21 college basketball season could proceed without the Ivy League.

With Ivy fall sports already canceled and winter sports delayed until at least January, there is growing skepticism about upcoming basketball season.

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“I have a feeling it would be the whole league isn’t going to play,” an Ivy assistant coach told national college basketball writer Adam Zagoria.

Zagoria also added that two Ivy schools are “unlikely to play men’s hoops this year” and that it is a possibility that the whole league won’t play.

The Ivy League — consisting of Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton and Yale — was the first Division-I conference to cancel its postseason tournament in March due to COVID-19.

Harvard, the league’s expected frontrunner, would be the most notable program to miss the season. The Crimson bring back leading scorer Noah Kirkwood and have finished no worse than second in the Ivy standings the past four years.

Canceling the season could have several effects on the league’s players. An Ivy-wide eligibility rule prevents any postgraduate player from participating in athletics. As a result, some of the conference’s top players transfer elsewhere for their final season of college athletic eligibility. Additionally, the NCAA D-I Council announced this week that winter sport student-athletes who compete this season will receive an additional season of eligibility, which could further incentivize student-athletes to transfer and play elsewhere.

“A final decision on league play will be made by the Ivy Presidents, and coaches expect to be told next month,” Zagoria said.


Eli Boettger is a college basketball writer and founder of HeatCheckCBB.com. He has previously worked for Sporting News, DAZN and USA TODAY SMG.

Boettger’s content has been featured by Bleacher Report, NBC Sports, FiveThirtyEight, Yahoo Sports, Athletic Director University, Washington Post, Illinois Law Review and Notre Dame Law Review, among other publications. Boettger is also a current USBWA member and Rockin’ 25 voter.